The PMO is refusing to turn over the names of 14 staffers who received severance and separation pay from the taxpayer after leaving their jobs. Trudeau’s office won't even turn over the specific names of these former employees.
We learned the news from a pro-active release of a previously filed access to information request. This isn’t one of ours, but one posted by the government after someone else asked for and received it.
Some sleuthy individual out there asked the Privy Council Office (PMO) — Trudeau’s chief bureaucrats — for:
“Documents on the number of employees in PMO, hired after Nov. 4, 2015; that left by March 4, 2019; that were paid severance; the total amount of those severance payments; the number of those employees who also received separation pay; and the total amount of separation paid for those employees”
Presumably, the filer was asking about Gerry Butts, the former principal secretary to Trudeau who left under a cloud of scandal in February, right in the middle of the SNC-Lavalin ethics investigation. However, the ATIP filer also may have been asking about Claude Eric Gagne, who left the PMO the previous February. After several months of paid leave Gagne was investigated for harassing female staffers. Gagne denies the claims, and left on his own accord.
I know those are the two guys I'd want to know about.
However, in a shock to no one paying attention to how Trudeau operates, the Prime Minister’s Office refused to disclose the individual amounts and individual names.
Everything was redacted except two line items indicating the PMO paid out $118,000 in severance and $119,000 in separation pay to up to 14 people.
The redactions deviate from what used to be standard practice to give a narrow range for the pay as a balance between protecting the privacy of individuals and respecting public transparency. The names, however, are not private and should have been released in full, something the Information Commissioner has previously ruled on when Rebel News appealed redactions of Gerald Butts' expense claims under the claim the details were “personal information”.
It’s not personal if the taxpayer is footing the bill.
The iron grip on public information in this “most open and transparent government ever” is going to remain in place.
The information laws are just more rules the Liberals will ignore to hang on to power.
But that doesn't mean we are going to stop trying to find out what the Liberals are doing behind closed doors away from the disinfectant of sunlight.
It's expensive and time-consuming to file for Access to Information documents and to spend the man-hours to read through the heavily-redacted pages and then to make appeal after appeal to the Information Commissioner to get the hidden information the law clearly says the public is entitled to.
If you can help cover the costs of our Access to Information accountability journalism, please contribute at RebelInvestigates.com.